Task Force releases Hurricane Sandy Rebuilding Strategy
Recommendations seek to help communities better withstand --and recover from-- future storms
Yesterday, President Obama’s Hurricane Sandy Rebuilding Task Force released a strategy to continue helping the Sandy-affected region rebuild. The strategy's 69 policy recommendations, many of which have already been adopted, will help homeowners stay in and repair their homes, strengthen small businesses, and revitalize local economies. Many of the recommendations also serve as a model for communities across the nation facing greater risks from extreme weather.
As the President said, "We have cut red tape, piloted cutting edge programs and strengthened our partnership with state and local officials. While a great amount of work remains, we will stand with the region for as long as it takes to recover."
The goal of these and other recommendations in the Strategy is to:
•Align federal funding with local rebuilding visions.
•Cut red tape and get assistance to families, businesses, and communities efficiently and effectively, with maximum accountability.
•Coordinate the efforts of the Federal, State, and local governments, with a region-wide approach to rebuilding.
•Ensure the region is rebuilt in a way that makes it better able to withstand future storms and other risks posed by a changing climate.
In recognition of the increased risk the region --and communities across the nation-- face from extreme weather events, the Rebuilding Strategy includes recommendations that will improve our ability to withstand and recover effectively from future flood-related disasters.
The Rebuilding Strategy seeks to ensure that the region's transportation recovery is a coordinated effort, with local, county, and state planners and transit agencies working together, saving money, and getting better results for the people in the region. Since Sandy struck, DOT has been on the job helping impacted communities rebuild transit lines and restore roadways. The Federal Transit Administration has made available more than $5.7 billion, and the Federal Highway Administration has announced more than $500 million for recovery efforts.
And to safeguard these investments, the Strategy recommends establishing guidelines to ensure that rebuilding projects are situated and built to withstand the impacts of existing risks and future climate change. Hurricane Sandy made it clear that some of our nation's transportation infrastructure is vulnerable to the effects of a changing climate; it's important to learn that lesson now so we can make the best use of taxpayer dollars down the line.
As Task Force chair Housing and Urban Development Secretary Shaun Donovan, who is serving as the task force chair, wrote in an impassioned blog post, "The President has been clear – most recently in his Climate Action Plan – that we have an obligation to protect the planet for the next generation, just as our parents and grandparents handed us a better planet. He has also been clear that, as we take responsible steps to cut carbon pollution, we must prepare communities across the country for the impacts of climate change, many of which are already being felt."
Using the best available data and information on current and future climate change--including sea level and storm risks--will support more effective decision making for recovery and future planning.
Todd Solomon works on digital media for the DOT Office of Public Affairs.